Is it Lawful For a Man to Divorce His Wife?

Probably no subject causes so much interest and is so important to deal with in our day as divorce. Over one million people a year experience divorce in America. Five out of nine marriages end up in divorce. Sixty percent of divorces involve children. 1,000,000 children are affec … More


These verses in Mark give us the teaching of our Lord on the subject of divorce. Jesus had left Galilee and crossed over into Judea on the east side of the Jordan River (v. 1). As crowds gathered around Him to hear Him teach, a group of Pharisees asked Him a very controversial question. “Is it lawful for a man to put away (divorce) his wife” (v. 2)? It may have been designed to get Jesus into hot water with Herod who had divorced his own wife to marry his brother’s wife. In answer, Jesus asked them what Moses had commanded, because he was considered their highest authority (v. 3). This was the equivalent of our saying, “What does the Bible say?” The Bible is always the authority, the final word. There is no evidence in scripture that God devised divorce; it was something that man devised.

Their answer was based on (Deut. 24:1) where he allowed for a bill of divorcement (v. 4). During that time divorce was already taking place among the Israelites and Moses was not encouraging divorce but seeking to discourage it in that particular situation. Therefore, Jesus explained that the reason for this concession was because of the “hardness of your heart"(v. 5). Men were divorcing their wives on almost any grounds. It even went so far that if a wife spoiled a dish of food or had a loud voice he could divorce her. Jesus went on to point out that marriage was permanently binding as pointed out in (Gen.1:27-28: and Gen.2:24) (vv. 6-9). It is meant to be absolute permanency and unity, and no Mosaic regulation involving a temporary situation could alter that. Furthermore we find in (Mal. 2:16) that God hates divorce. God hates divorce because of what causes divorce and because of what divorce causes. Jesus confirms this to his disciples (vv. 10-12).


The two biggest reasons for divorce is the lack of commitment and one or both of the partners trying to change the other. Lord help me and all those in my family to never waver in commitment to our spouses and to not be guilty of trying to change the other person.

Mark 10:1-12 (English Standard Version)

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